News from Project B09

Prof. Dr. Klaus Schlichte
Prof. Dr. Klaus Schlichte
In a podcast interview, Klaus Schlichte looks at the Covid-19 pandemic in African countries and the measures taken by governments.

"There are differences between countries, but repressive policies are the dominant ones," says Klaus Schlichte with regard to the governmental reactions to the spread of the novel corona virus in Africa. In many countries there are curfews, he says, which are massively enforced by the police, at least in the cities. What may seem necessary from an epidemiological point of view, however, also has negative consequences: "By stopping traffic, there are apparently already crises in the supply of food to the urban population," says Schlichte. If there were to be permanent increases in food prices, hunger riots would be a great danger. Even before the pandemic, many people in African cities could hardly afford food.

At present, the African continent seems to be comparatively little affected by the pandemic. This is due to the relatively low international mobility of the population. "But once the virus has reached the cities, it is likely to spread faster than in Europe, for example," says Schlichte. "Because people live closer together and have fewer retreat areas in the form of their own apartments or houses."

The poor data situation makes it difficult to predict how the pandemic will develop. One problem with the prognosis is that there is hardly any data on the spread of pre-existing conditions such as asthma and other respiratory diseases. "African societies are much younger than, say, European societies. There are comparatively few elderly people in whom Covid-19 is more likely to develop particularly severe conditions". This positive effect may be outweighed by the fact that there are many people who are malnourished and undernourished.

Economically, the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting African societies hard. Tourism, which is of great importance in the coastal regions, but also in the interior in the form of safaris, is experiencing a massive slump. "More important, however, is the decline in so-called remittances [i.e. money transfers from family members working in Europe, for example]. As a result, the most important source of foreign currency in African economies is collapsing." In total, the remittances are higher than the total development aid that African countries receive.

In the medium term, however, the Corona crisis could also have positive consequences: "It is possible that pressure on African governments will now increase," says Schlichte, "to spend more money on public health care and less on the military and police.

The podcast interview with Klaus Schlichte was conducted by Thomas Walli of the Institute for Political Science at the University of Innsbruck as part of the special series "Corona and Politics".


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Klaus Schlichte
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67475
E-Mail: kschlich@uni-bremen.de

Alex Nadège Ouedraogo back at her improvised office in Brussels.
Alex Nadège Ouedraogo back at her improvised office in Brussels.
Once the shutdown was in place, Alex Nadège Ouedraogo had to terminate her research stay in southern Senegal and could only leave the country with a repatriation flight.

Hello Nadège, please tell me about your trip to Senegal.

I left Bremen on the 11th of March. I was supposed to stay in Senegal for a bit more than two weeks. The plan was to have some knowledge exchange with experts at the Assane Seck University of Ziguinchor in the south of Senegal and to conduct interviews with Senegalese security nets households beneficiaries. But this plan completely collapsed because of the Corona virus spreading.

Were you prepared for this scenario?

When I started from Bremen, Africa wasn't as affected as Europe. When I arrived everything was normal and then the situation changed quickly. On my third day, first COVID-19 cases were confirmed, and from there everything started to get crazy. Apparently a couple of French retired people being infected came back to Senegal where they actually now live. Much worse was the case of a Senegalese who returned from Italy to Touba. Touba is a religious city and this means that there are more interactions between people than in other cities due to collective sittings, meetings, prayers and so forth. From what people and the press said, he didn't mentioned that he came from Italy and he didn’t know about the virus which he spread to up to 70 people in a very short time according to press release. These soaring cases changed the situation very quickly. Before I realised, governments worldwide started to take drastic measures to limit the expansion of the virus. Airlines were cancelling flights, the Senegalese President Macky Sall took early on measures and shut down all schools and universities, forbid meetings, Friday prayer at mosques to avoid people gathering and so forth―many measures that led me to stay home and hoping to go back to Europe.

Does this mean that you could not talk to anyone at the universities?

I had planned to go to the Assane Seck university of Ziguinchor for one week, I was supposed to be a visiting researcher there. With everything going on, I contacted the head of the Sociology department with whom I arranged my visit to know what to do. He told me the university was about to be closed. Although it seems complicated, I decided to at least go to meet with one of the colleagues to discuss about our projects. In parallel to this university exchange I had planned to do some final data collection interviewing about ten families who benefit from safety net cash transfers. At some point, we agreed to cancel the interviews, because the families may be afraid to get in close contact with me who was coming from Europe where the corona virus was spread much wider. My stay in the south of Senegal, which was initially planned to last one week, was to be cut down to three days, but even that proved too optimistic with increasing displacement restrictions. On the very same day I arrived, I realised that I had to return to Dakar to catch a flight back home as soon as possible because around the world governments were closing the borders.

Getting a plane ticket must have been a lottery …

There were no flights at all, you couldn't book anything on the internet. Egencia was saturated, flights were offered on the website but you could not actually book any. I contacted several agencies to see what they could do for me - nothing. There was no information available, I felt kind of lost while in Europe people were already in lockdown. Once I managed to get back to Dakar, the borders were closed. All international flights in and out were stopped. I was stranded in Senegal.

What did you do then?

Together with my team and Irina we contacted different services (Egencia, airlines, MFA, German institutions in Dakar and so forth). They were always present and supporting. Since I am also a Belgian citizen, I contacted the Belgian embassy. They told me straight away that they were not going to organise anything. The same with the German embassy. Only the French apparently were organising repatriation flights and obviously those flights were fully booked at the minute they were out. There I was, not knowing when I will make it out of Senegal. This whole process took an entire week with emails and phone calls.

How did you get to leave the country then?

At the last minute, on Sunday the 22nd, I received an email from the Belgian embassy stating that they were organising a flight. I had to fill in some forms to apply for a ticket. On the very same night they sent a confirmation for the next day, 8 am. When I arrived, this huge airport was empty except for us and all the Belgian diplomats wearing masks and gloves.  We did not get any information and were only asked to line up, respecting 1,5 metres of distance to one another. There were apparently a couple of people without a ticket sitting with their luggage aside, the atmosphere was tense. But eventually I made it to Brussels. I couldn’t make it to Bremen, as there were no trains or flights. Here in Brussels I have to stay in isolation for 14 days.

Now you have lots of time for your thesis but not the data that you needed to collect in Senegal, right?

It is fine because I'm in the writing process right now. I'm doing a cumulative dissertation. I already started writing one article with Klaus Schlichte and there is another one that I have presented in November. So I'm busy with those papers that I have to submit. The problem is the lockdown situation here. I am here in a different environment to work and I am not used to this. I can work but it is not as efficient. I will still do my best to write those papers and to contribute to the project.

But what about the interviews you wanted conduct in Senegal?

Since one of my articles will be about social nets during election time, these interviews were kind of an evaluation or an after election information. I had already collected data during the election period and I wanted to integrate some post-election information into the last paper I am planning to write.  Apart from the family interviews on cash transfers I was supposed to conduct a round table at the University with some social policy experts that are working on food security. I was really expecting a lot of this. I was able to gather people from the sociology department and from national and international institutions that are locally grounded. It was disappointing that I couldn't present my work to them and discuss it in order to get to know what they think about my findings. This is disappointing because having more local grounded expertise would have really helped me with my writing.


Contact:
Alex Nadège Ouedraogo
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 176 73 96 96 90
E-Mail: ouedraogo@uni-bremen.de

SFB members Kressen Thyen and Alex Veit will chair Section 39 at the 14th Pan-European Conference on International Relations.

Call for Papers: "The Politics of Internationalised Welfare" (S39)

European International Studies Association (EISA), 14th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Msida, Malta, September 16 – 19, 2020

Proposal submission deadline: March 16, 2020
Section chairs: Alex Veit & Kressen Thyen (University of Bremen)

The call for papers is now open for "The Politics of Internationalised Welfare", Section 39 at the EISA-PEC, 16-19 September 2020.
Section 39: The Politics of Internationalised Welfare

In recent years, students of International Relations have increasingly paid attention to internationalised welfare as a relevant field of study. In contrast to the traditional welfare literature, which conceptualises social policy primarily as a domestic issue, this new branch of scholarship emphasises the influence and impact of global dynamics and international actors on social needs and welfare provision. However, different areas of international engagement, such as global health, social protection, or humanitarian aid, are often treated as separate fields of study.
In this section, we aim to bring these fields together and to analyse the fundamental questions linking them: How do international political structures—from colonialism to global governance—impact on welfare states around the globe? What influence do international and transnational actors have on the design, finance and provision of welfare systems? Which ideas and interests drive international involvement in welfare provision?

From the "age of empires" to the contemporary multilateral world, international authorities and actors have addressed social inequality, political grievances and environmental risks in different ways. This section seeks to highlight changes and continuities of internationalised welfare. It is therefore structured in a historical order that connects the past, present, and future.

With this call we are inviting paper proposals in particular relating to the following panels:

  • Imperial, Late Imperial and Post-Imperial Welfare Politics in the Global South
  • Welfare in the Post-colony: Between Popular Contention, Statebuilding and Internationalisation
  • Beyond Capital IR – Studying Social Questions in the Countryside
  • Climate Change and Poverty: Vulnerable Populations, Human Security & Social Justice


A more detailed description of the intended panels follows below.
Please submit your paper proposal through the EISA-PEC online platform. Submission guidelines are available here: https://eisa-net.org/pec-2020-abstract-submission-guidelines/

We look forward to receiving your proposals and to seeing you in Msida!
Alex & Kressen


Imperial, Late Imperial and Post-Imperial Welfare Politics in the Global South
Panel Chair: Roy Karadağ

This panel targets the imperial sources of internationalised welfare. It aims to bring together scholars who investigate and critically reflect upon the ideas, policy measures and practices of empires in identifying, problematizing and dealing with poverty, social crises and contestations from excluded groups across global peripheries. What were the features of this imperial wave of global social policy? Under which conditions did imperial politicians, bureaucrats and academics engage with teaching, healing and nurturing subject populations in colonies and protectorates? In which ways were these policies and practices themselves transformed in the late imperial years after the Second World War? What were the overall consequences for social policy making after decolonisation had finally materialised?
Organised around this set of questions, contributions ideally bridge the gap between themes of dependent development and the politics of empire, on the one hand, and of welfare statism and social policy, on the other hand. In particular, the goal is to theorise what the "imperial" is in "imperial social policy and welfare". Geographically, we invite papers that cover African, Middle Eastern and Asian contexts of imperial rule. With regard to policy fields, papers may cover anything from education, health, food, labour, pensions, housing and social assistance schemes. Contributions may render the multi-sited and multi-causal nature of imperial policy making visible, for example by investigating the various imperial justifications of policies and regulations, and the contestations they produced both within and beyond the respective imperial institutions.


Welfare in the Post-colony: Between Popular Contention, Statebuilding and Internationalisation
Panel Chairs: Kressen Thyen & Alex Veit

This panel interrogates postcolonial welfare states in the Global South as processes and products of entanglement between domestic and transnational political configurations.
On the national level, public welfare connects state organizations and social groups. It may increase state legitimacy, but also trigger new demands. It addresses social inequality, but also manifests group privileges. It symbolises nationhood and provides vision, but also exposes gaps between ambition and implementation. Geographically, welfare bureaucracies embody the state in the most remote village, but also reproduce urban-rural divides. Welfare administrative knowledge is the backbone of planning for the public good, but such data can also be used as a tool of control and repression. In sum, welfare provision creates colourful, often contradictory bonds between states and populations.
At the same time, welfare states of the Global South are transnational configurations. The design, finance, and provision of welfare is a transnational process in which international organisations, bilateral donors, transnational NGOs, religious organisations and expert communities are centrally involved. While such international involvement arguably creates a "global social policy" in its infancy, it also renders concepts of sovereignty, citizenship, democracy, accountability, entitlement, and durability highly precarious. This fundamentally puts into question previous assumptions on welfare state formation.
To address these processes of entanglement between transnational and domestic configurations, we invite papers addressing or relating to the following questions: How can we conceptualise welfare in the Global South? How does internationalisation impact on everyday patterns of legitimation and contestation? In what ways did neoliberalism and structural adjustments disrupt postcolonial welfare politics? Where do countervailing ideas emerge against dominant welfare approaches?


Beyond Capital IR – Studying Social Questions in the Countryside
Panel Chairs: Klaus Schlichte & Anna Wolkenhauer

A lot is going on in the countryside. In recent years, Sociology, Development Studies and Political Science have paid renewed attention to rural areas for a number of reasons. Deteriorating food security, increasingly frequently felt impacts of climate change, and a growing awareness of sustainability issues have put farmers back at the centre of attention.
Practices like land-grabbing, the depletion of natural resources, food insecurity or huge gaps in public service delivery seem to fuel forms of opposition that have hitherto rather been ignored by “capital IR”. This panel aims at interrogating social questions that specifically address rural areas, rural populations and internationalised politics targeting them. This can include social policies, rural development, food policies or other schemes geared by “the will to improve” (Tanya Li). While locally effective, state and non-state policies are embedded in a global system of development initiatives, governance structures, trade rules, and political representation more widely. We are convinced that IR is well-advised not to ignore the connections between rural change and international structures – historical and contemporary.
This panel invites contributions related to the following or related questions: How are structural transformations in the countryside addressed by (internationalised) welfare? How have state retrenchment and a neoliberal redefinition of social policy affected rural areas? How are social and political questions related in the countryside; do welfare and political representation interact? What potential do food security interventions hold for social inclusion and transformation?


Climate Change and Poverty: Vulnerable Populations, Human Security & Social Justice

Panel Chair: Simon Chin-Yee

Climate change plays an increasingly important role in discussions of poverty, human security and socio-economic risks. Vulnerable populations are increasingly susceptible to weather shocks, desertification, sea level rise and conflicts which can lead to poverty traps. Sustained eradication of poverty will depend on many socio-economic conditions, including access to health care, education and economic growth. Climate change impacts on poverty exponentially as vulnerable populations are more exposed to its effects and have less capacity to adapt or react to natural disasters. Additionally, climate change is increasingly seen as a threat multiplier further exacerbating impacts on human security. These are human rights and climate justice issues.
This panel seeks to examine how changing environmental conditions are impacting vulnerable populations with an eye to the future, answering questions such as: How can vulnerable communities avoid falling into the poverty trap? How do populations cope when experiencing negative shocks in multiple channels simultaneously? What responsibility does the global climate regime have to address issues of human rights and vulnerable populations? To what extent are climate related risks addressed by internationalised social policy-making?

Programme
https://eisa-net.org/pec-2020-sections/#topanchor


Contact
Section Chairs are Alex Veit (veit@uni-bremen.de) and Kressen Thyen (thyen@uni-bremen.de), Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS), CRC Global Dynamics of Social Policy, University of Bremen, Germany.

For further information related to the submission process please contact info.pec20@eisa-net.org.


Contact:
Dr. Kressen Thyen
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67488
E-Mail: thyen@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Alex Veit
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67471
E-Mail: veit@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Alex Veit
Dr. Alex Veit
Our CRC member edited a special section on "The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender Based Violence".

Alex Veit guest-edited the special section entitled "The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender Based Violence" in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (Vol. 13,4). The section is part of the research project "International Intervention against sexualised violence in conflict regions. Intended and unintended consequences", funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Project member Lisa Tschörner co-authored one of the articles.

Contents:

Feminism in the Humanitarian Machine. Introduction to the Special Section on "The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender-based Violence"

by Alex Veit

Abstract: The prevention and mitigation of sexual and gender-based violence in (post-) conflict societies has become an important humanitarian activity. This introductory article examines the analytical discourses on these interventions, the institutionalization of SGBV expertise in international politics, and the emancipatory potential of anti-SGBV practices. It argues that the confluence of feminist professional activism and militarized humanitarian interventionism produced specific international activities against SGBV. As part of the institutionalization of gender themes in international politics, feminist emancipatory claims have been taken up by humanitarian organizations. The normal operating state of the humanitarian machine, however, undercuts its potential contribution to social transformation towards larger gender equality in (post-) conflict societies.

"A Real Woman Waits" – Heteronormative Respectability, Neo-Liberal Betterment and Echoes of Coloniality in SGBV Programming in Eastern DR Congo

by Charlotte Mertens and Henri Myrttinen

Drawing on archival and field research, this article critically examines the production and distribution of gender roles and expectations in SGBV programming, in particular in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We find the underlying currents in some of these programmes reinscribe heteronormativity and focus on individual betterment which resonates with regulating gender and sexuality during colonialism. In some cases, strongly western-inspired norms of individual agency have been introduced, disregarding structural constraints of people’s lives. To conclude, we explore alternative approaches to SGBV prevention, ones in which international approaches are re-defined and vernacularized for local use – but which also at times inform global understandings.

"Without Education You Can Never Become President": Teenage Pregnancy and Pseudo-empowerment in Post-Ebola Sierra Leone

by Anne Menzel

This article analyses the emergence of ‘teenage pregnancy’ as a new policy focus in post-Ebola Sierra Leone and explores how Sierra Leoneans interpret the problem of ‘teenage pregnancy’. I argue that the new policy focus is not indicative of changing or new problems. Rather, ‘teenage pregnancy’ has created opportunities for donors and the Government of Sierra Leone to continue cooperation in gender politics. At the same time, Sierra Leoneans are clearly concerned about ‘teenage pregnancy’, and many agree with sensitization campaigns that responsibilize young women and girls while downplaying structural factors that render them vulnerable to arrangements involving transactional sex.

Creative appropriation: academic knowledge and interventions against sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

by Alex Veit and Lisa Tschörner

Recent academic research has questioned assumptions about sexual violence in (post-) conflict contexts. Gender norms rather than military decision-making have been found to constitute a major underlying reason for wartime sexual violence. In this contribution, we investigate whether international organisations seeking to prevent sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo have accordingly changed their analytical perspectives and modified policies and programming. We find that many, but not all, such organisations creatively appropriate new academic work in their policy and project documents. However, incentives for continuity in the humanitarian field have slackened the pace of any substantive practical changes.


Contact:
Dr. Alex Veit
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67471
E-Mail: veit@uni-bremen.de

Dr Alex Veit
Dr Alex Veit
In project B09 Alex Veit works on case studies on social policy in South Africa and Tanzania. On a recent research trip to both countries he took a closer look at their education policies.

Dear Alex, for project B09 you were in Africa. Where exactly?

In March I was first in Cape Town, then one week in Johannesburg and then in Dar es Salaam.

What were your plans for this trip?

At first it was about finding out about the academic landscape. We want to cooperate with local scientists dealing with topics similar to ours. I have gained an insight into who works for what purpose, what they do exactly and where common interests could lie.

Did you specifically address social policy researchers and historians?

The university landscape in South Africa is relatively large, and some universities can play along without problems at our level. Education studies are particularly interesting for us, as are many sociologists who work on education. Or political scientists who specialise in health. As a trained historian, I have also spoken to many historians.

And in Tanzania?

In Tanzania, the University of Dar es Salaam is the country's flagship. It is actually the only university that has a certain amount of resources that make research possible. The other universities and the private universities are basically pure teaching institutions. But in Dar es Salaam there is the legendary Historical Department, which produced groundbreaking research in the 1960s and 1970s. It was there that Marxist historical science was practiced by people known in the scene. This was a place of longing for many historians at the time. There are still many good people there. I talked to some of them and started a cooperation.

What are your first insights into the educational systems of these countries?

Education is a huge promise in both countries: Education can change everything that doesn't work in society. But there are serious differences between the two countries. In South Africa all discourses take place against the backdrop of apartheid and racist inequality. The education system is also considered under this paradigm. The society is very fragmented, accordingly a lot of blame is placed. 25 years after the end of apartheid, everyone is totally dissatisfied. In international comparisons, South Africa's public schools partly lag behind Tanzania, which spends much less money on education and is at a much more difficult stage of development than South Africa, which invests 20 percent of its state budget in public schools. It is especially in the poorest regions that schools are miserable.

In what way?

On the one hand, the results in benchmarking studies are poor, and on the other hand the infrastructure is also poor. Every year, several pupils are killed as they plunge into latrines. The question then arises, who is to blame? Many people say that the ruling party can't get it right. Others point to the unions that protect teachers from having to work harder. Still others blame the whites who send their children to private schools, which is why the public school system falls behind and the good teachers go to private schools.

Where the salaries are higher ...

Yes, there are all sorts of reasons in such a fractured society. Tanzania's society is much more homogeneous in comparison. There are no such clear conflicts. Everyone there talks about development, everyone wants things to go ahead, and they are also reasonably satisfied. A lot is being built, the infrastructure is making progress. For example, the telephone network in Dar es Salaam is often better than in Bremen.

And the schools?

The schools are now free of charge. But almost everyone I have spoken to sends their children to private schools. Many spend a large part of their salary on it because they consider the quality of the public schools to be miserable in comparison.

Was there anything on your trip that surprised you?

I was very surprised to see how closely economists are involved in policy development, especially in education. In Tanzania, mostly through International Organisations. In South Africa it's the local economists. Sociologists and historians are very dissatisfied with this. Because social policy is very much being quantified.

Does this mean that the education system is developing in a certain direction?

Sociologists say that everything is moving in towards privatisation and that there is a political agenda behind it. In Stellenbosch, the leading former Afrikaans-speaking university and one of the country's five elite universities, apartheid has been academically conceived and legitimized. There is a very strong Department of Economics there, and the ANC government is drawing on this very university. I have not expected that at all. This has something to do with the fact that, at the transition from apartheid to democracy, many academics returned from exile, usually radical people, including academics, who were in Britain. They wanted to build something together. At the same time, the World Bank was also massively involved in that phase. There was an international programme to help South Africa get back on its feet. They wanted to build South Africa as a lighthouse of democracy in Africa. So there was an immense rush from all sides. The problem with the radical left and the ANC's exiles was that they were very good at organising resistance, but they were not prepared to govern. But those who were really well prepared were the World Bank people. They joined forces with the Stellenbosch economists. They spoke the same language. There were all kinds of reform promises, including outcome-based education. In principle, this means that each child is supported according to his or her needs and that there is no rigid curriculum. Instead, the teachers develop the material together with the pupils. At the same time, however, at the end of the day it should be possible to measure clearly and comparably which skills the pupils have acquired. This has led to a complete disaster. Everyone was totally confused in a phase in which everything was in a state of upheaval anyway. This huge reform has unsettled all schools, all teachers. There were no more textbooks, no curriculum and at the same time there was a very rigid, authoritarian understanding of teaching at all schools. For decades frontal teaching prevailed, and now suddenly it was going to be completely different. They tried that for a few years, then everything was put back on hold.

How do you proceed now?

I'm going to Tanzania in June for a few weeks. I will do interviews with people involved in education and food policy. I will meet with the International Organisations. They are relatively prominent in Tanzania, much more prominent than in South Africa. I also try to talk to the government and the administration. And then I visit a smaller town and talk to teachers and the local administration. I will not return to South Africa until next year.

Then the CRC is already in its third year ...

Yes, but there is so much literature on South Africa that I have to collect much less data on my own. In Tanzania the situation is quite different. I have to produce more primary material there. I went to South Africa now to understand which stakeholders there write which political agenda. Because there are such close links between the universities and the government, everyone writes with an agenda. You have to be able to assess that. When I go there next year, I will also talk to teachers and school principals to understand how policy actually affects them. After all, reality has several layers.


Contact:
Dr. Alex Veit
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67471
E-Mail: veit@uni-bremen.de

Prof Dr Klaus Schlichte
Prof Dr Klaus Schlichte
Klaus Schlichte talks about his research stay in Kampala: systematic research, planned irritations, and coincidence revealed a lot about social policy issues of Uganda.

Dear Mr. Schlichte, for project B09 you have recently been in Uganda for about two months. What was the aim of the stay?

My aim was a general mapping. Because social policy in Africa is by no means as well researched as in the OECD or Europe. And there are forms of social policy that are less present in the Global North, such as subsidising staple foods or preventing epidemics. So my aim was to gather views on this: What do people think about social policy issues in Uganda? What are the positions of the government? What do nurses, doctors or teachers' unions think? But I also wanted to know how "ordinary" people, i.e. non-experts, deal with issues like illness or health care in everyday life. There was no overarching question: in mapping, you try to put together a collage and be open to everything that arises.

But you have not flown to Uganda unprepared, have you?

Of course not. I have worked on other issues in Uganda before and therefore have a number of contacts. Nevertheless, I didn't want to go looking for material with a narrow question in mind. We call this field research, you could also call it ethnography. Of course I also do expert interviews, but everyday stories are just as much a part of it as everything that' s written in the newspaper and what people tell me in informal conversations. I also collect all kinds of documents, informal papers, for example from development aid organisations working in Uganda. The assumption is that everything is material. Everything you see, hear and find. There is no limit.

So you flew to Kampala with one suitcase and returned with five? Or more seriously: How do you document your work during mapping?

In the past, when all documents were still printed, I actually packed mailbags and sent them to Germany. But of course, almost everything in Uganda is digitalized today and fits on a USB stick and in a few folders.

And do you record conversations with people?

Sometimes. But most of them I don't. A lot of conversations are everyday conversations, so it would be very strange to fiddle around with the microphone in someone else's face. I usually take notes in conversations and write everything down in detail afterwards. This later results in a transcript of the conversation. The important thing is that I sit down straight away. That's why I immediately go to a café, go home or to the library after a conversation and write a transcript based on my notes.

Was there anything on your trip that surprised you?

What surprised me was that all the policies are subject to Uganda's democratic machine. This goes so far that many Ugandan experts now doubt democratisation because political competition has become so fierce that it creates interference in all kinds of policies.

Can you give an example?

Let us look at police work in Uganda. During election campaigns, the entire police force is on the road on behalf of the government. Everything is used so that the president can travel smoothly through the country and the masses can be organised to cheer for him. The normal police work is left behind, and the resources of the police are not abundant anyway. This principle also applies to schools and health care. Political support is generated through the distribution of already scarce public resources. We also know this from Germany: certain regions and groups are provided with resources to generate loyalty. In Uganda, this is happening in a radical way, which has to do with widespread poverty. The incumbents set the entire state in motion for political competition. Even intellectual, liberal and progressive people told me that Ugandans should vote less and at longer intervals, because too much money and too many resources are being burned for creating loyalty. I was surprised at how critical the public opinion has become of democratic procedures.

Elections in Uganda take place every 4 or 5 years.

Yes, usually the president is in office for five years, the parliament is also elected every five years. That sounds like a relaxed rhythm. But loyalty must be secured in between as well. You need parliamentary majorities. And Parliament is not as disciplined by parties as it is here, instead the loyalty of MPs is also managed by building hospitals, roads and the like. Because the MPs are under a certain pressure to deliver certain benefits to their constituency.

Which brings us to social policy.

Where are the hospitals being built? Where they are beeing needed, or where the MP lives whose support is being needed? This logic surprised me. I do not think that Uganda is an isolated case here; we will be able to observe this in many states, including far beyond Africa: the political establishment is also an entrepreneurial establishment. For example, the Permanent Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education is also the owner of several private secondary schools. The same can be seen with many members of parliament. These are political entrepreneurs who are strongly linked to the privatization of education and health. This has created an oligarchy that can have no interest at all in making education and health a public good again. The booming market for education in Uganda in particular is firmly in the hands of those who also have the political say. A locked-in situation, which is so stalled that one wonders: How will this ever change again? This is perhaps a second thesis that emerged from the stay.

I imagine it would be difficult to verify on-site such things as the confictinginterests of the Permanent Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education.

Of course, people don't tell you in front of a microphone, rather in a confidential conversation. But you can verify such things just as you can in Germany, for example, by going to the Chamber of Commerce and looking up who is registered there as an entrepreneur and for which business.

I ask because your colleague Roy Karadag tried a similar mapping in Egypt and was blocked, at least by the authorities and ministries.

That is quite different in Uganda. You have to register with the authorities and ministries at the reception desk, but then - and this makes it incredibly easy for research - you can move around the building completely freely. You simply knock on the doors. You may have to wait or come back the next day, but the people are always willing to talk. Uganda is much more liberal than Germany, in this respect.

Your mapping method also depends on coincidences. One such coincidence has made you familiar with the Ugandan hospital system. Would you briefly tell me about that?

In Kampala I stayed with a former doctoral student who sublet rooms of her house. A news presenter was staying there as well as my landlord's uncle, who had come to Kampala from the countryside because he had tongue cancer. His example illustrated to me how Uganda's health care system works and what role family, kinship and friendship play in social security. Uganda has about 40 million inhabitants. For people who do not have private health insurance and cannot afford surgery - about 98 percent of the population - there is exactly one ward in the whole country where cancer surgery is possible. His uncle would have died if his niece hadn't had a job to finance his hospital stay. That was the first condition why he is still alive today. The second was that 20 Chicago doctors operated in the hospital for two weeks without pay - day and night in alternating shifts. This was the only reason why the operation was possible at that time. Most doctors and nurses who work in Uganda's public hospitals cannot make a living from their salary, which is why they also work in private clinics. This explains why cancer surgery in Uganda does not run as smoothly as it does in our country.

What happened to the man?

There are no rehabilitation clinics in Uganda, so he was discharged a few days after the operation. For someone from the countryside the question then arises: How do you get home from the hospital? The median income in Uganda is 55,000 shillings a month, the equivalent of about 25 euros. The transport from Kampala to the countryside, let's say 400 kilometres in distance, costs about 30,000 shillings, which is an average monthly income. Many patients are therefore dependent on help. Thus, complete strangers at the hospital give money to such patients. That sounds romantic now, but it also has a downside: Because these kinds of moral obligations are also the background to what we denounce as corruption. After all, the money has to come from somewhere. If there is mass poverty, there is also corruption - not because people are bad, but on the contrary: because access to public resources is the most important access to resources of all.
How all this is intertwined in the health sector was not obvious to me before. That is perhaps the most important reason for this form of research. I would not have to fly to Kampala for expert interviews. What I'm looking for there are "planned" irritations. In this way I discover issues and connections of which I knew little before, but which are important.

How will you continue your work now?

After collecting the material in Uganda, there is a phase of distancing. You discover certain things only when you look at the material again later, also because you have read other things and talked to others in the meantime. I started dealing with Uganda 20 years ago, and the recordings of that time are still full of useful information. I will now write an essay on Uganda and one on colonial social policy. The manuscripts will be ready by summer. But our research in project B09 also has a historical dimension. We want to record and analyse the ups and downs of social policies in six African countries. Then we hold the analyses next to each other. Are there similarities and differences? What happened at the same time, what happened in different phases and why? What were the external influences? Were there similar or contradictory influences? These are the questions that we will clarify in the first CRC funding phase. But we wanted to use the mapping to find out what developments there are in social policy in Africa and what questions arise from them that we can deal with in the second phase of the CRC.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Klaus Schlichte
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67475
E-Mail: kschlich@uni-bremen.de

Prof Dr Ndangwa Noyoo
Prof Dr Ndangwa Noyoo
Ndangwa Noyoo, head of the "Social Development Department" at the University of Cape Town, was a guest at the CRC 1342 in Bremen last week. In a lecture he called for a "Global Social Policy" to reduce poverty migration.

Professor Ndangwa Noyoo (University of Cape Town) gave a lecture on "Global Social Policy in an Era of Increasing Unilateralism, Narrow Nationalism and Xenophobia" at CRC 1342 on Tuesday, February 12th. In the lecture, Noyoo pleaded for a renewal of international solidarity. He recalled programmatic development cooperation especially in the decades after the Second World War, which, unlike today's "band aid" humanitarianism, was committed to a transformative agenda.

According to Noyoo, who works in Cape Town on social development, the current "narrow nationalism" in industrialised countries has been triggered among other things by strong migration movements. "Global Social Policy" as a transformative international solidarity is therefore an important instrument to reduce poverty migration and thus to ease political discourses in the global North.


Contact:
Dr. Alex Veit
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67471
E-Mail: veit@uni-bremen.de

Dr Roy Karadag
Dr Roy Karadag
Roy Karadag looks back on two short research stays in Egypt and reports on bureaucratic hurdles, promising archives and the devastating state of the Egyptian education system.

You travelled to Egypt for project B09. Where exactly have you been and for how long?

I was in Cairo for two shorter stays: one from late September to mid-October and then again from mid-November to early December. I was a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Political Science at the American University in Cairo.

What were your plans for these two research stays?

I knew that access to authorities, ministries and politicians in Egypt had become tricky. With the harsh repression that has prevailed since 2013, the situation has also become increasingly difficult for scientists, especially for European or US scientists. It is very difficult to build up well-founded networks locally if you have not yet researched and published on Egypt, as it is the case with me. That is why my trips to Cairo were primarily intended to find out whether I would even get access to the ministries in order to find out how social policy is negotiated and implemented over there.

And how did it go?

I initially conducted eight or nine interviews, mainly with teachers and doctors, and I also had several background talks with academics. First of all, I wanted to talk to the people who are active in the socio-political fields we are investigating. I wanted to find out what these people could tell me about dealing with health insurance companies or with the apparatus, the ministries. I wanted to know which political decisions are relevant to their everyday lives and which developments determine them the most.

And what about access to authorities and ministries?

I come back a little disillusioned. During my first stay, I approached the university experts in the social policy fields. One was even an advisor to the Minister of Education. But unfortunately this was not helpful for access to ministries and politicians. I will probably have to give up the idea of being able to conduct expert interviews in the ministries. This is a great pity, because research on Egypt in the 1990s and 2000s by people who were able to expand their networks over many years was really strong: great books on power networks, corruption, Islamist and other opposition groups; but unfortunately very little on policy fields such as health and education.

Today there are invincible bureaucratic procedures to prevent unpleasant research and research into opposition and resistance. And, unfortunately, also harsh violence, as the murder of the Italian doctoral student from Cambridge showed. Such violence only needs to be used once or twice to ensure that the message really is heard and that the fingers are kept off the investigation of trade union activism. Cairo has become really unfree in this respect.

What does this mean for your work?

We will confine ourselves to going through the historical material, the newspaper archives, in order to reconstruct certain phases and certain socio-political decisions. Building on this, we want to see what effect this has had on issues of state formation, state-society relations, people's expectations of governments and administration. Thus we can best develop something like a historical theory of social policy in Africa to show what is specific to Africa and what role the continent plays or can play in discourses on global social policy.

The access to the archives is guaranteed?

The newspaper archives are now fairly well available online. Of course I still try to get access to central archives. In Cairo, the central location would be Dar al-Watha'iq, the Egyptian national archive. It's all just a matter of formal enquiries and will probably be a longer bureaucratic process. But it should be possible. It would be nice to have such material on decrees, because these decrees are most likely to show what everyday political life looks like in Egypt.

You are examining three policy areas: Health, education and nutrition. Which period do you want to cover?

Our plan is to cover the whole century - 1918 to 2018. Of course it is difficult to investigate three policy fields over 100 years. Therefore, when analysing the newspaper archives, other material and secondary literature, we concentrate primarily on the major shifts that occurred in North Africa in the 1950s and 1960s. In Egypt, the late 1940s and early 1950s are very interesting because social policy served for the first time to legitimise the new state bureaucracy.

You mentioned that you interviewed teachers and doctors. What was the most interesting thing you learned from these people?

The focus of the conversations was on education, and a depressing picture emerged. Egypt is a poor country with huge social inequality. This is also evident in the field of education and education policy. Upper middle classes and the rich have detached themselves and can offer their children diverse and good educational opportunities. They have already sent their children to German, American or British schools in the past, and now the Japanese are also involved. There is strong differentiation and competition within the economic and bureaucratic elites and their children for power opportunities in decades to come. This competition is brutal. There is something like a central baccalaureate, but there are also accusations of corruption and fraud. There is much room to turn money into educational opportunities, while lower classes struggle with overcrowded classes, difficult transportation systems and schools with poor infrastructure. That's why parents scrape together every cent to offer their children tutoring - and this tutoring is offered by teachers who don't earn much themselves. For the teachers it is not decisive to teach at a public school, but to give private lessons. This of course diminishes the quality of general education. All ideas developed in global educational discourses like interactive teaching and the like simply bounce off these harsh socio-economic realities.

You have now mapped the field and explored networks. How do you proceed?

I will go to Egypt and Cairo again to look at the material from the 1940s to the 1970s. I will systematically compile the material on relevant political decisions in order to discuss and evaluate the greatest similarities and differences within our project.


Contact:
Dr. Roy Karadag
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67468
E-Mail: karadag@uni-bremen.de

Alex Nadège Ouedraogo, doctoral researcher in project B09, spent four weeks in Senegal. In two different regions, Dakar and Casamance, she explored the topic of her thesis: social policy related to food security.

Nadège, you have recently returned from a research trip. Where have you been?

I was at Dakar and I visited Ziguinchor, a city in the south of Senegal, that has seen conflicts for several years but now everything seems to be calm.

What was the purpose of your trip?

During the first week, I took part in a summer school in Dakar that was organised by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the Centre for African Studies Basel (CASB). The theme was: "African Studies and Africanists: Whence the Gaze?". As my parents are from Burkina Faso, I've been interested in working with Africans scholars and in Africa. It was interesting to be surrounded by other PhD students from the African continent. I learned a lot about doing a PhD and doing research in Africa. Well, and after that I stayed another week in Dakar collecting information to locate archives and networking. Then I travelled to the South during the third week to explore and learn about the region and came back to Dakar for the final week. These last three weeks of my trip were directly related to my PhD and the research within our B09 project while the first week was more about being a researcher in an African context.

What is you research about?

In our project B09 we are working on social policy in Africa, and in my case it's about social policy related to food security. My recent trip to Senegal helped me a lot to find a more particular and original angle from which to conduct my research.

How did this happen?

I did not make any appointments for any interviews before I started my research trip. I wanted to have first impressions of what's going on at the local level. I did not want to run into the government or NGOs straight away but rather meet and talk with the local population. That is what I did.

Could you already gather information or data that you can use for your research?

Not actually data. But I now know in which direction I want to conduct my research. Speaking with many local people and sitting with them on the market helped me a lot. I also visited some households that I got introduced to. I discussed with these people what they think about social policy and what it means to them. I soon realised that most of them do not even use those terms. It doesn't make sense for them. Most of them use the term public policy. This preliminary research trip helped me to adopt a certain position and a certain vocabulary. I also realised that for the locals food security depends on access to food. Access not so much in financial terms but rather in terms of transportation and local availability. Most people told me that they would like to buy certain kind of food but cannot find it. Or that it is produced for export exclusively. It was interesting to discover that food security is closely related to transport infrastructure and spatial planning.

Which language did you speak with the local people?

I spoke French. But most people in Senegal speak Wolof which I don't speak. That made it a bit harder to make sure people understand me and vice versa. But most of the time I had someone local who helped interpreting when people did not speak much French. But I will do my best to learn basics of Wolof soon.

What are your next steps?

Now I have to write my thesis proposal. Thanks to this preliminary field trip and the readings, I had done before I should be fine. Now I have ideas of how I want to conduct my research and it's more grounded because I've been in the country.

Have you planned next trips already?

If my thesis proposal is approved, I hope I will be able to go back to Senegal for a longer period of time. Time is really a constraint. I cannot leave all my activities here in Bremen but it's really important for my ethnographic research approach to be in the country and to stay as long as possible.


Contact:
Alex Nadège Ouedraogo
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 176 73 96 96 90
E-Mail: ouedraogo@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Roy Karadag
Dr. Roy Karadag
Roy Karadag presents a draft paper that examines the questions: What effect did the uprisings and subsequent regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt have on social policy? Did the democratisation of Tunisia lead to a strengthening of the welfare state?

The situation in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East before the so-called Arab Spring was similar: deficient state budgets, low economic growth, weak industrialisation, high unemployment, lack of prospects for young people. As a result of these similarities, the protests originating in Tunisia have spread throughout the region and led to the overthrow of the government in many countries.

But what effect did these regime changes have on the social policies of the respective states? Roy Karadag, Kressen Thyen and Saara Inkinen, who are working together in the CRC project "Transnational Welfare - Rise, Decay and Renaissance of Social Policy in Africa", are investigating this question. In a case study they compare post-revolution, democratically ruled Tunisia with military-ruled Egypt. Has the democratisation of Tunisia led to an expansion of social policy programmes?

At the colloquium of SFB 1342, InIIS and BIGSS on June 12, Karadag presented the state of the art in research on this topic. Karadag gave an overview of the literature dealing with the interrelation between democratisation and state welfare programmes. According to this, there are three "schools of thought":

a) Most of the literature assumes a positive correlation between democratisation and the extent of state welfare programmes. The reasons are: the growing influence of large underprivileged sections of the population through democratic elections while at the same time putting pressure on elected governments to meet the demands for an expansion of social services.
b) A smaller number of authors cannot see any connection between the democratisation of a country and its social policy. Non-democratic governments are also interested in a stable society. Welfare programmes are one tool to achieve this goal.
c) A minority of authors come to the conclusion that democratisation tends even to lead to a reduction in social programmes. Examples include Latin American countries that have cut their social benefits under the influence of international organisations such as the World Bank and the World Monetary Fund.

So what is the situation in Tunisia and Egypt? So far there have been no significant differences between the social policies of the two countries, Karadag reported. Both countries initially tried to preserve their social policy institutions and programmes, but have been implementing austerity measures in cutting energy and food subsidies for a year now, even against resistance from the population.

According to Karadag, however, it is still too early for a final evaluation. Tunisia is facing a presidential election in 2019. It will soon become clear how the government and opposition politicians will act in the election campaign phase and what role social policy will play in this. However, the Egyptian military regime under President Sisi is implementing these cuts through increased repression and violence against opposition and activists.
Karadag, Thyen and Inkinen plan to present their detailed research results first at the CRC conference in October 2018 in Bremen and then publish them first as a working paper and later in a peer-reviewed journal.


Contact:
Dr. Roy Karadag
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67468
E-Mail: karadag@uni-bremen.de